While much of the media focus in the lead up to last night’s Republican presidential debate at the Ronald Reagan Library was on Donald Trump, there’s little doubt today that it was Carly Fiorina’s night in Simi Valley.
The former CEO of Hewlett Packard looked confident and prepared on stage with the 10 other male candidates, and the general consensus this morning seems to be that she had the strongest showing of any of the candidates last night. She was firm but detailed in explaining how she would tackle some of the big campaign issues, she held her own against the others, and she delivered probably the most memorable comment of the evening when responding to remarks Donald Trump made about her face.
Donald Trump, meanwhile, had a middling night, at least by his standards. The other candidates were much more prepared to attack him this time around, and it showed during the debate. The result was a few highlights here and there, but otherwise it was status quo for the billionaire real estate mogul. Trump even told MSNBC after the debate that he felt bad for his fellow candidates because the whole show focused too much on him.
Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush also had strong showings last night while others like Rand Paul and Ben Carson struggled to stay in the foreground. Chris Christie may have also won some points last night as he tried to place himself above the other candidates by calling attention to the fact that they were bickering about their track records while the American middle class is suffering.
Who were the winners and losers in your mind? What did you learn about the candidates that you didn’t know before? Have your allegiances changed because of anything that happened last night?
Reed Galen, Republican political strategist and owner of Jedburghs, LLC., a public affairs and campaign consultancy firm in Orange County
Erikka Knuti, Democratic political strategist with Purple Strategies, a political consulting firm in Washington, D.C.